by Owen Gleiberman
Arnold Schwarzenegger, cast as a futuristic helicopter pilot and all around wonderful guy dad, returns home one evening, looks through his living room window, and sees his family, his friends… and himself. Arnold, it seems, has been cloned, duplicated down to the last dimple and sinew, all by a mysterious collusion of corporate and medical forces.
The 6th Day, a high body count action gloss on ”Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and ”Blade Runner” (the faux humans who tromp through the movie are like pods crossed with replicants), is one of those irresistible science fiction potboilers, like ”Demolition Man” or ”Total Recall,” that’s jammed with corny but fun satirical details of a not so brave new world – taco flavored bananas, a shopping mall with a virtual aquarium ceiling, a hologram ”girlfriend” who’ll greet you with a smile and a lap dance.
At the center of the movie is a solid gimmick that may or may not be an intentional howler: Schwarzenegger, as a personality, is such a hammy and overdeliberate robolug that when he’s on screen along with his double, there’s no way to tell the difference. The pod version is every bit as ”real” as the real thing. ”The 6th Day” is a bit of a clone itself, but it’s got a crackerjack helicopter chase, a semblance of a script, and a sotto voce performance by Robert Duvall as a biotech genius who murmurs sweet nothings to his dying cloned wife. For Arnold’s career, at least, it’s not quite the end of days.